How to Protect Your Business Against Security Threats
Regardless of your business size and niche, it is, unfortunately, the case that your business is at risk of facing a wide array of potential threats. Criminals will always find ways to get access to your private data and finances to make a quick buck; therefore, it is in your best interests to prevent this from occurring and keep your business afloat.
If you have had no experience in business or security, it can be challenging to know where to start; especially given that threats are constantly changing, meaning it can be difficult to keep up. In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the key ways that you can protect your business (including eCommerce stores) from security threats and identity theft.
1. Keep All Of Your Software Updated
One of the most popular reasons why business devices can be hacked is because the security software they have on their systems is out of date. Criminals are always coming up with new viruses and malware threats; therefore, it can be extremely challenging to keep on top of them individually. Thus, the software installed acts as a barrier to prevent threats from attacking your system – you need to install it and keep it up to date.
Software developers have a full-time job continually working to identify the latest threats and solutions to prevent viruses and malware from attacking your system and putting your business data at risk.
Therefore, failing to keep your software updated can pose a substantial threat to your devices and leave your data open to the eyes of hackers. The software you install should include anti-virus filters to limit the risk of your devices becoming affected significantly.
The good news is that most updates can be scheduled to a time that suits you (such as when the office is closed), so it doesn’t have to interfere with your business working hours.
2. Get Educated With An Online MBA
To understand the ins and outs of cybersecurity, it would be advisable to study an online MBA to give you a basic understanding of how to run a successful business and prevent it from collapsing in the early stages. Within your online MBA course, you will develop specialized knowledge that will enable you to stand out from your competitors and future-proof your business from threats, including cybercrime.
The good news is that an online MBA can be scheduled around your personal commitments on a flexible basis without the need to visit the university on a physical cause. Regardless of which business niche you choose to go into, an online MBA will undoubtedly stand you in good stead as a new entrepreneur. You can apply today to start your online MBA journey with a variety of providers.
3. Set Up a Firewall
After studying for your online MBA, it would also be in your best interests to set up a firewall, which acts as an additional barrier between the software and internet to catch viruses and malware before they even get a chance to infiltrate your device.
However, always remember that the firewall should also be installed on every device used within the company, especially those that hold sensitive data.
4. Train Your Employees
Employees that have been informed of and trained in cyber-security are ultimately your best hope for keeping viruses at bay. They are the ones who will be exposed to potential threats daily but may not be aware that they are at risk of being scammed.
Most viruses are unintentionally invited onto the hardware through a human error by clicking on phishing emails that present themselves as legitimate emails but are cyber scams in disguise. It would be in your best interests to invest in a training program centered around cybersecurity so that your employees are aware of what to look out for. However, enrolling employees in an online MBA would also be another viable option.
As well as this, your employees may not have been informed about what data they can and cannot disclose to non-employees. One slip of the tongue could leave your business vulnerable and leave you facing the risk of having your business information stolen. With this in mind, holding regular meetings and asking employees to sign confidentiality contracts during the hiring process will ensure that sensitive data is not leaked to external sources.
5. Have A Disaster Recovery Plan
Have you ever thought about what would happen if your business lost an entire folder of sensitive information and data? Unfortunately, many companies fail to think logically about what would happen if this were to occur, and as a result, find themselves unable to cope with crises.
To be prepared, it would be wise to have a disaster recovery plan in place. The knowledge needed to create one would be taught on an online MBA. The plan should include what actions should be taken if a cyber-attack were ever to occur. Having a clear step-by-step plan in place will ensure you are prepared on what to do to get your business back on track as soon as possible.
6. Dispose Of Old Computers And Media
Before disposing of old computers used by employees, it would be highly advisable to wipe the hard drive beforehand and destroy it physically. Many people forget about the amount of data they have stored, which could be hacked if the device was found either in the garbage or in a landfill.
Suppose it has been several years since you last used your device, set your device back to factory reset to give you the peace of mind that all of your data has been removed. Alternatively, you could take your device to a professional company that will destroy it on your behalf.
7. Use Strong Passwords
If you already have passwords to protect your devices, ensure that they are not the default option that the system set for you. These weak passwords are typically known globally and wouldn’t take much thought to break if a criminal was to try and hack into your device.
Therefore, change your password to a strong phrase that is personal to you but isn’t your name or date of birth. It should also contain capital letters, special characters, and numbers to make it much tougher to access your private systems. Also, make it clear to your employees not to give out their password to any other individual outside of the company, as this could put your business at risk.
8. Monitor The Use Of Devices
If your company lends devices to employees for work purposes, ensure you keep a close record of each device’s whereabouts to prevent them from getting into the wrong hands. This has become a much more common occurrence since businesses have been forced to close their offices and ask employees to work from home. You’ll need to be extra vigilant with how your business’ devices are handled with this in mind. It is your responsibility to keep in touch with employees and remind them of the importance of:
- Where they choose to store their devices
- Which Wi-Fi hotspots they are linking to (especially when working in a public environment)
- To pay extra attention when transferring data from USB or micro SD cards onto the device if the external drive contains viruses.
All devices should be individually named if being taken off the premises. If one goes missing, it will make it much easier to track down. Notify your employees of the seriousness of devices being lost due to the data they contain and its effects on the business as a result of careless behavior.
9. Set Up Web And Email Filters
If possible, turning on website and email filters will prevent hacking scams from making their way into your employees’ inboxes. Unfortunately, many people are tricked into clicking onto emails that appear legitimate but are, in fact, hacks in disguise, prompting individuals to enter personal information, including finances and personal data.
There is also the option to install blacklist defenses, which prevent dodgy websites from being accessed by blocking them from the system.
As part of the training process, ensure you train your employees to be aware of some of the most common websites that can threaten your system. These include the likes of adult sites, gambling sites, and those that ask for financial information. Although it may seem obvious to most people, it only takes one mistake by one employee to infect your whole system. An online MBA will allow you to build up your knowledge in all these fields.
10. Protect Your Customers
In order to keep your business afloat, it’s vital to keep your customers’ personal information protected. Customers choose to continue shopping with companies with whom they build trust. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to stay true to your word to safeguard your business reputation, or you may face legal consequences, regardless of whether you are at fault.
In this case, there are just a couple of pointers that you may like to think about to protect your customers’ data, including:
- Investing in a secure platform that protects financial transactions.
- Encrypting personal information such as addresses and bank details that are stored on the system.
Do consider that rules and regulations affect how you can use your customers’ data, so ensure you carry out the relevant research to find out how to comply.
11. Encryption Of Data
If you’re particularly concerned about specific data being hacked, it would be wise to encrypt all of your business devices, which in more simple terms means that the information they contain has been specially coded so only authorized persons can access it. Encryption encodes a file so that it can only be retrieved by those who have permission, and, in this case, it would be yourself and your employees. The information is decoded through multiple passwords, for example.
Secure All Wireless Networks
Failing to acknowledge network security’s importance is just as crucial as forgetting to lock up your business premises at night. There are several factors that you’ll need to take on board to protect your business network:
Change The Service Set Identifier (SSID)
One of the most common things you could do to protect your network is to change the SSID, which is otherwise just the network’s name. Many systems come with a default SSID; however, having such a common name makes it much easier for hackers to access.
Make Your Password Strong
If you want to change your password from the default password that the router comes with, it’s crucial to make it secure, in the same format as though you were encrypting your software. It would be recommended to make it at least 20 characters long, with an array of letters, numbers, and symbols.
If you are a business that allows customers onto the premises and offers Wi-Fi as an additional service, it ensures that it is entirely separate from the major business network used by your employees.
12. Perform Background Checks On Vendors
Before deciding to work with any vendor, it would be highly advisable to build a positive relationship with those you consider doing business with. Alongside this, don’t be afraid to perform the relevant background checks, including the likes of credit history (btw, here are the most common credit card fraud cases) and, of course, criminal history, to gain peace of mind from knowing that you’re not putting your business at risk.
An online MBA will teach you how to carry out essential business procedures, including working with suppliers and vendors, which will certainly come in useful regardless of your business niche.
Some businesses choose to leave the background checks in the hands of third parties that are experts in uncovering information.
13. Shred Documents Before Disposing
Shredding documents may seem like an inconvenience when there are many other tasks to complete. Still, those containing private business information could leave your business open to threats if they get into the wrong hands. Your business’ data may be at risk of being used unlawfully or even stolen.
Some of the essential documents to watch out for include customer quotations, invoices, and those addresses. All sensitive documents should be shredded as soon as they are read and sent for recycling. We hope this guide has given you some useful tips to consider if you’re worried about your business’s security.
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